Birgunj-based businessman reported to have contracted Covid-19 tests negative for the virusLab report by Rajendra Memorial Research Institute of Medical Sciences, Patna, specifically mentions ‘negative’ for 2019-nCoV.
A Birgunj resident, who was earlier reported to have tested positive for Covid-19, has tested negative for the coronavirus that causes the disease.
The 52-year-old businessman from Birgunj was admitted to Patna Medical College and Hospital on suspicion of contracting the disease.
A section of the media earlier on Sunday had reported that he had tested positive for Covid-19.
Patna Medical College and Hospital had sent his oropharyngeal swab to Rajendra Memorial Research Institute of Medical Sciences on March 20 (Friday).
“The hospital had initially told the family that he was tested positive for the virus in the first test,” the businessman’s nephew who is with him in Patna told the Post over the phone. “However, the lab report on Sunday showed he had tested negative for the virus.”
The lab report specifically mentions “negative” for 2019-nCoV, yet another term for Covid-19 caused by a new strain of the coronavirus which now has been dubbed SARS-CoV-2.
Media reports earlier in the day suggesting that the man had tested positive for the virus had prompted widespread concerns. So far Nepal has reported only one Covid-19 case, and that too has been recovered.
To control the spread of the virus, the Nepal government in recent days has taken a slew of measures, including suspending all flights to the country, all long-haul transport and all non-essential services.
On Sunday evening, the Cabinet decided to close down borders with India and China for a week effective from 10am Monday.
The decision follows New Delhi’s decision to suspend all passenger trains, bus services, metro and inter-state bus services until March 31, putting all 75 districts where coronavirus cases have been reported under lockdown.
Amid a growing number of Covid-19 cases in India, concerns were rising in Nepal over the possible entry of the virus via open border points.
Frequently asked questions about the coronavirus outbreak
UPDATED as of March 28, 2020
What is Covid-19?
Covid-19, short for coronavirus disease, is an illness caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, short for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. Common symptoms of the disease include fever, dry cough, fatigue, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
How contagious is Covid-19?
Covid-19 can spread easily from person to person, especially in enclosed spaces. The virus can travel through the air in respiratory droplets produced when a sick person breathes, talks, coughs or sneezes. As the virus can also survive on plastic and steel surfaces for up to 72 hours and on cardboard for up to 24 hours, any contact with such surfaces can also spread the virus. Symptoms take between two to 14 days to appear, during which time the carrier is believed to be contagious.
Where did the virus come from?
The virus was first identified in Wuhan, China in late December. The coronavirus is a large family of viruses that is responsible for everything from the common cold to Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). After an initial outbreak in Wuhan that spread across Hubei province, eventually infecting over 80,000 and killing more than 3,000, new infection rates in mainland China have dropped. However, the disease has since spread across the world at an alarming rate.
What is the current status of Covid-19?
The World Health Organisation has called the ongoing outbreak a “pandemic” and urged countries across the world to take precautionary measures. As of Wednesday, Covid-19 had spread to 199 countries and infected more than 596,349 people with 27,343 deaths. In South Asia, Pakistan has reported the highest number of infections at 1,373, with 11 deaths. While India has reported 667 confirmed cases with 20 deaths. Nepal has so far reported four cases, in which one patient recovered.
How dangerous is the disease?
The mortality rate for Covid-19 is estimated to be 3.6 percent, but new studies have put the rate slightly higher at 5.7 percent. Although Covid-19 is not too dangerous to young healthy people, older individuals and those with immune-compromised systems are at greater risk of death. People with chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease, or those who’ve recently undergone serious medical procedures, are also at risk.
How do I keep myself safe?
The WHO advises that the most important thing you can do is wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizers with at least 60 percent alcohol content. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unclean hands. Clean and disinfect frequently used surfaces like your computers and phones. Avoid large crowds of people. Seek medical attention if symptoms persist for longer than a few days.
Is it time to panic?
No. The government has imposed a lockdown to limit the spread of the virus. There is no need to begin stockpiling food, cooking gas or hand sanitizers. However, it is always prudent to take sensible precautions like the ones identified above.